Author Archives: Editor

Got some questions about business?


The City of West Sacramento is sponsoring free business consulting classes and one-on-one business counseling. Low-income residents and business owners can get help with business planning, marketing and navigating business loans. Call 617-4545. Spanish-speakers, call 492-2008 ext. 213; Russian speakers may call 492-2591 ext 220.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Firefighters get some tear gas

NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 24, 2012 —

The West Sacramento Fire Department reports an unusual incident Oct. 11 during a brush fire near County Road 126 and Old River Road just north of city limits.

West Sacramento and Elkhorn fire crews responded to a one-acre brush fire at about 3:43 p.m. The fire grew, and more firefighters were called to help.

“Midway through the extinguishment,” reports a WSFD spokesperson, “a smoke cloud originating from the CHP Academy drifted over the scene. It appeared that the CHP Academy was performing an exercise near the high-speed track and expelled some type of tear gas.”

“The smoke cloud quickly passed and all personnel recovered from the event.”

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Suspicious man reported by kids


A pair of students from Southport Elementary School report that a suspicious man in a pickup truck may have been staring at them as they walked home from a school bus stop on Linden Road.

The incident happened around 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, within a few blocks of Linden Road and Violet Drive.

“Two kids got off the bus on Linden Road, near their house,” Lieutenant Tod Sockman of the West Sacramento Police Department told the News-Ledger. “They saw a guy in a dark gray pickup truck. They described him as in his 50s with sideburns. He may have been staring at them. They got creeped out by him and thought he was following them. They took a detour, and went down what they described as an alley, and never saw him again.”

“The man didn’t speak to the kids,” he said.

  Sockman said it isn’t clear whether the man was up to any mischief, but the kids “did the right thing” by being vigilant and careful.

“I wouldn’t want them to do anything else,” he said. “But it could just be a guy sitting in a truck. There was enough information that we took a police report and put it out to every single patrol car.”

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Meet Walt Bowman, WUSD candidate


  Editor’s Note: each local election cycle, the News-Ledger invites all candidates for West Sacramento local office to meet us for a published interview. Those interviews are seen first by News-Ledger subscribers. We’re pleased to offer our Oct. 3 interview with Walt Bowman below. He’s running for one of three available seats on the Washington Unified School District school board.

By Steve Marschke, News-Ledger Editor

Walt Bowman is a 71-year old retired truck driver who lives with his wife in the West Capitol Avenue area of West Sacramento. This November, for the second time, he will be trying to earn a spot on the Washington Unified School District Board of Trustees.

What’s driving him?

“I want to get one person off the board,” he mentioned. “I’m not going to name any names. I want to put new faces on the board. I’d like to see three new faces this time around – whether it’s me or not doesn’t matter.”

WALT BOWMAN: retired truck driver wants to change up West Sacramento's school board (News-Ledger photo)

Bowman is one of a handful of challengers joining incumbents David Westin and Mary Leland in pursuing three available seats on the school board. His own two kids are grown, but he became angry when the board made moves to close the charter school that two of his  granddaughters were attending. That school, the West Sacramento Early College Prep Charter School, has been deemed to be underperforming.

“They wanted to close that school,” Bowman told the News-Ledger last week. That started me getting mad, and my daughter said, ‘instead of getting mad, why don’t you run?’”

“I like charter schools,” he added. “I’m for it. If I’m on the board, every time it comes up, I’m going to vote for it. They’re an alternative education – some kids don’t fit in well at the regular schools, for one reason or another.”

Bowman has another grandchild at Stonegate Elementary. He has lived in New Mexico and in the Bay Area, and he spent a year at Chabot College in Hayward before his career in long-haul and local trucking.

How does he think the current board is doing – aside from the charter school issue?

“Overall, they might be doing OK,” Bowman allowed.

How about the district’s finances in this era of state-budget cuts?

“I feel they have the money,” said Bowman. “Like everybody else, they say ‘oh, we don’t have the money.’ But if they don’t have the money, how are they paying the teachers?”

  Student test scores have gone up in the past two years. Is that important?

“These people on the board now make a big deal of that,” he answered. “But they’re not in there taking that test. They’re not in the classrooms teaching. Yet they’re saying, ‘we got the test scores up.’ No, they didn’t.”

What does Bowman think of the quality of WUSD’s schools?

“They’re probably doing okay,” he answered, “but the schools on this side of the town (in the north) are kind of overlooked. I don’t think they give the schools on this side of town a fair shake.”

What big challenges does he see in the district?

“They say it’s money, but another thing is that there’s a high drop-out rate at the high school,” answered Bowman. “That’s going to be a big problem to fix. We should hire high-end mental health counselors and bring them in here. We can sit them down and get inside these kids’ heads and figure out what’s going on. They’re going to say it’s going to cost the district money. But, well. . . .”

Does Bowman have other ideas for improving the district?

“Probably some of these kids need a lot of help. Like counselors, or some kind of aides to help these kids.”

“If politicians would keep their noses out of it, and let the schools teach, the students would be better off.”

West Sacramento voters elect their school board (and their city council) “at large,” meaning there is one group of candidates voted on by people from every neighborhood. Bowman would like to see future school board voting done by districts, to help the northern part of town get more consistent representation.

“If we go by district, everyone will have a fair chance,” he explained. “You’re going to have a mix of people from Bryte, Broderick, (the central business district) and so on. You’d get a cross-section of people on there. Things would get done.”

What will Bowman do if elected?

“If I get in there, I will try to get the buses back,” he responded. The district – reacting to budget cuts – has cut a lot of its school bus service recently.

Bowman said he will not be spending a lot on his campaign, because “I don’t like to go out and ask for money.”

“I’m not backed by anybody (on the board or city council) and I don’t belong to this group or that group. But I’m going to give it a shot.”

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledge newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Open your home to a child: info


Every year, over a hundred children in Yolo County need foster homes to shelter them from abuse or neglect.

Learn more about what it takes to be a foster parent. Attend a free session from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29, at the local library, 1212 Merkley Avenue. For information, contact Cherie Schroeder of the Foster & Kinship Care Education program, at (530) 574-1964 or email There’s also a lot of info at

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Letter from Austria: West Sac kid reports back from Europe


  Editor’s note: Fabi Perez of West Sacramento is in Austria as a Rotary Youth exchange student. He’s sponsored by West Sacramento Centennial Rotary Club Centennial and Pocket Greenhaven Rotary Club. Here’s a report he has sent of the first month of his visit:

By Fabi Perez

So far I have had an amazing time. I arrived on August 8 at around 3 p.m. in Munich, Germany. My flight was smooth from San Francisco to London at about 9 hours. From London I flew to Munich in about 1.5 hours. I can now say that I have been to three European countries in a single day. That thought makes me ecstatic, to say the least.

When I arrived in Munich, my host dad, Christian, was there to greet me. Funny story: I forgot to tell them which airline I was taking, so my host brother, Jakob, was waiting in the other terminal. After that mix-up, we drove to Riedau, Austria, which was about a two- hour drive. On the way there we were exchanging many questions, and getting familiar with one another.

It was an entertaining drive because we drove on the Autobahn (somewhere I had always wanted to go). Once I arrived to my host family my host mother, Elisabeth, greeted me with a tremendous Austrian hug – ha ha. She was extremely excited to meet me and it was a glorious moment. Soon after I put my luggage in my room, my host dad started up his grill and we had a barbeque (here it’s called Grillen. We had Kotelett, Spiess, and Wurst for dinner. It was incredibly good.

I managed to adjust to the time after one day which was good. The next day, I woke up and went on a bike ride with my host parents to get to know the neighborhood. On the way I met one of my host mother’s sisters, Elcha. There I was introduced and we chit-chatted, and we also had Schaumrolle made by her. They are tasty, crispy rolls filled with a sweet cream. Riedau is a small town and it’s quaint. It’s exactly how I like things. The days don’t go too fast; they go at the pace that I like. It’s a wonderful sensation.

Later that day, I met my Host Mother’s other sister, Kirsten. There, I had the pleasure of tasting Austrian pizza. It was tasty. My host parents and their family also asked me if I eat chili and said yes. They told me they had some incredibly spicy chili and then asked me if I wanted to try it. Naturally I did, and they were surprised that I put a lot on it because for them it’s incredibly spicy and for me it was like strong pepper. They were surprised.

THE AUTHOR (center) with host parents Christian and Elisabeth Aigner

The next day I managed to organize some of my belongings because I was going to go to language camp in two days for two weeks. After, I did that I went shopping at the local grocery store, Uni-Markt, with my host mother and younger host brother, Niklas. The store was small, but it was packed with a lot of local merchandise. After that I helped my host mother sort all of the merchandise.

I was lucky that I brought my hand-held video game system because my younger host brother likes to play games. We played some Mario Kart for about an hour which was fun, because my other two host brothers also joined in. The next day my host mother asked me if I wanted to go a wedding. I said I wanted to go, and so we went. The wedding was in Willibald.

It was a wonderful wedding because it was the first European church I had been to. The architecture in it was amazing because it was built in the Gothic period. Later in the day, my host parents and I went to Schärding to meet my host counselor, Klaus. He’s the manager at a sports clothing store. He’s a very nice man, and we discussed with my host parents all the Rotary information.

  After these few days of getting to know my host family I was ready to head off for two weeks to language camp. Before be we left to Altmünster, my host father made Weiner Schnitzel. I saw the process to make it and it was fun to learn. After we had the Weiner Schnitzel we headed off to camp. The drive was two hours long and I took a small snooze 30 minutes before we arrived.

At the camp exchange students trickled in, I was one of the first ones to arrive. There were people from all over the globe. I met students from different parts of the United States:  Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, and Taiwan. We were a big group of exchange students – 70 altogether. We outnumbered the group that was already there by 50.

I also met two exchange students from California. One of them is Carley Barrett from Benicia the other one is Mark Heisinger from Lake Tahoe. We got along pretty well. Throughout the two weeks I shared a room with three other boys: Juan from Ecuador, Giovanni and Juarez from Brazil.

I also managed to befriend all the other exchange students with great success. The next day we started German lessons. There were six classes: four beginner, one intermediate, and one advanced. I was in the beginner class. Class started off slow because our teachers had to assess at what level we all were so during the first few days kids were floating in and out of class. I was able to switch out to intermediate, but I decided to stay in my class because I didn’t want to overwhelm myself.

In the end my class was the Beginner+/Intermediate class, which was a good thing.

Also, the lake in Altmünster was gorgeous. I swam in it a few times, hiked the area most of the times and also explored Gmunden, the next town over. Later in the week the group of students went on a hike to see Altmünster from the top of a hill. In short it was one of the most beautiful vistas I have seen.

The exchange students also went to the Rotary Club of Gmunden to meet the president and club. The club put on a special presentation of a special military unit for ceremonies, the club president had a Napoleonic-era cannon to be shot into the lake. It was an awesome sight.

  On August 19th we were taken to the oldest salt mines in the world in Halstatt. I was one of the most excited students there because I’m an avid fan of geological terrain. It was an amazing experience to be in those mines and it was at a cool temperature. I was disappointed because there was no place where I could go and extract minerals, but I still managed to buy some Rose Salt at the gift shop, though.

Once we were done in the mines we hike town to the town in Halstatt which is a nice tourist town. There I played giant chess with one of my friends Joel. I found out that China loves Halstatt so much that they made an exact replica of it in China. On the last Saturday at camp we were treated to a special concert by an amazing choir in a church. I think I can say that I will never hear something that angelic again. Before the concert the students were told that we had to organize a talent show and I participated which was nerve wracking, and all the students got to see the cool talents all the others have which was nice.

After leaving language camp and saying goodbye to the others it was time to head back home. Once, home I managed to finally get fully acquainted with my host family. By this time one of my host brother’s, Jakob, had left a few days prior to start his exchange in Mexia, Texas. The past few days have been fun, I have already biked to many places on my own so I can memorize the area. It’s a wonderful place where I’m at because it’s one big back road. That’s what I love. I have also, driven with my host parents everywhere they have gone and I have recently gone to Linz, the capital of Upper Austria. Then on the first of September my town had its annual Trachtenball which enabled me to wear my first Leder Hosen. They are quite comfortable. All in all I am content in Austria. It’s completely different and I love it. I have pictures posted on my blog for viewing at: 

I’m extremely grateful of having had this opportunity granted to me. This has been one of my goals since I was little to be living in a different country and I wasn’t thinking of even doing this after high school, but I’m glad that I did. Thank you all for reading.

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledge newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

New bowling league for seniors


There’s a new bowling league for those age 55+ at Capitol Bowl, 900 West Capitol Avenue in West Sacramento.

Bowlers of all skill levels are welcome; scores are handicapped. Cost is about $10 per week, and play is at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays. Teams of four can be all male, all female, or mixed.

For more information call either 530-753-5369 or 530-668-9559.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012